The Missouri Botanical Garden takes great pride in its Victorias and cares for them from the middle of winter all the way through the end of fall. The resident Aquaculturalist's duties include growing and taking care of the Victorias. Before being transferred outside, the Victorias are kept in above ground tanks in our Production Greenhouses. The following cultivation guide was developed by Tim Jennings of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. It has been adapted and reprinted here with permission.
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February-March: Sow Seeds
- Victoria amazonica and Victoria x Longwood Hybrid germinate best in water temperature of 80° -82° F.
- Victoria cruziana germinates best in water temperatures of 70° -72° F, and may take longer to germinate.
- Sow seeds (photo 1) about 1 inch deep in a soil mixture of 5 parts topsoil, 1 part sand.
- Cover top of soil with a layer of sand (photo 2). The sand helps keep the soil in the pot once its submerged and it also helps keep the water cleaner.
- Repot once seedlings have developed their second set of true leaves (photo 3).
- Continue to repot as needed until it is time to plant them outside (photo 4).
- For a closer inspection of the area we plant them in, click here to see a QuickTime VR movie. If your browser is not Netscape 3.0 or Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher, first download QuickTimeVR
Your Frost Free Date: Plant out into pools
- Water temperature should be at least 72° F.
- Plant into as large a container as possible using the same soil mix as for the seedlings.
- Our Victorias are planted in a reflecting pool near the Climatron, with a view to the north of the Linnean House (photo 5). The permanent concrete pots they are planted into are 18 inches deep and 3 feet across.
- The container should be at least 12 inches under water to get maximum display late in the season.
July-September: Seasonal care while on display
- Remove leaves as needed. Our Victorias are often damaged by coins tossed into the pool. If a coin lands on a Victoria leaf, it will heat up in the sun and burn the leaf.
- Waterfowl generally leave the Victorias alone because of the thorny undersides of the leaves (photo 6).
- You must have both first (white) and second (pink) night flowers.
- Cover the expecting first night flower with cheese cloth to prevent any chance of cross pollination.
- Flowers usually open around 8:30 - 9:00 p.m.
- Remove pollen anthers from a second night flower and drop into a first night flower.
- Lightly spread pollen grains around on stigmatic bowl using a camel hair brush.
- Once complete, recover flower, being careful not to restrict receptacle.
- If successful, the receptacle should swell to the size of a small softball in 2 - 3 weeks.
- Watch seed pod as it develops. Once it has swollen, cover and tie to a stake to prevent it from floating away. Seed is ripe once pod bursts.
- Collect seed and store in water, allowing the covering on the seed to slowly dissolve. Change water as needed.
- Once clean, store in layers of moist sand for 6 weeks then remove and store in distilled water at 60° F.